It’s Monday and today is the day I try to get a start on planning a future worship service. It all starts with a blank piece of paper (actually computer screen) and with a general thought about what the sermon topic will be for that Sunday.
- Is everything based on Scripture?
- Do the elements chosen communicate and reflect the characteristics of God and the full
story of salvation through Christ?
- Do the elements of the service help people recognize God’s presence and therefore connect
people with God?
- Is there something familiar to a large group of the congregation in the worship
plan? — Familiarity would be different for different age groups and
church backgrounds or absence of a church background.
- Does everything we do encourage people to participate? — Worship is a verb,
something to participate in and not to watch.
- Do the elements of the service enhance or compromise the message? — If there is any indication
that an element gets in the way of the content then it should not be used.
- Throughout the worship service, is time and opportunity given for people to…
— voice thanksgiving
— hear God’s Word
— respond to what they hear
— pray to God in a personal and corporate way
The list of questions in not conclusive but it does give me a starting point. To go along with these questions I also try to vary the list of songs so that we don’t always start with something up-tempo and end with something soft. But just recently I was on James McDonald’s blog, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, where he had posted a video of how they choose songs for worship. It is a different approach but one that deserves some serious consideration. Here is a link to the blog post.
The bottom line is that I believe it is my responsibility and great privilege to encourage this congregation to meet God in the conversation of worship.